European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 135, Issue 6, pp 1107–1117 | Cite as

Effects of fire recurrence and different salvage logging techniques on carbon storage in Pinus pinaster forests from northern Portugal

  • Victor M. SantanaEmail author
  • Oscar González-Pelayo
  • Paula A. A. Maia
  • María E. Varela T.
  • Alejandro Valdecantos
  • V. Ramón Vallejo
  • J. Jacob Keizer
Original Paper


Pinus pinaster (maritime pine) is widely planted in the Mediterranean Basin. Maritime pine forests’ carbon stocks are dynamic because of the effect of wildfires and timber activities. Management practices offer an opportunity to mitigate climate change via increasing carbon storage in various ecosystems. In this work, we quantified carbon pools in P. pinaster forests in relation to fire occurrence and different post-fire salvage logging techniques. For this, we studied an area in northern Portugal where different parts had burned zero, one and four times during the last three decades. Following the last fire in 2012, two salvage logging treatments were carried out: (1) typical logging where all logs and tree biomass were removed and (2) conservation logging where burned tree branches were left in piles and log extraction was restricted to specific extraction trails. We assessed the carbon stocks for the aboveground and belowground compartments, taking into account their different components (vegetation, litter, roots and soil organic carbon). Our main findings were, firstly, that recurrent fires can be catastrophic in terms of carbon sequestration if the overstory dominated by P. pinaster does not regenerate after fire (2.4 times less). Secondly, soil organic carbon constituted an important carbon pool, being the most important when pines are eliminated due to recurrent fires with short intervals (90–95 %). Finally, the conservation technique applied here, leaving piles of branches on the soil surface, would be a suitable measure to increase carbon storage, at least in the short term, but might interfere with the recruitment of the pine stand.


Carbon stocks Maritime pine Pine recruitment Shallow root biomass Soil organic carbon 



The authors fully acknowledge Martinho Martins, Sérgio Prats, Franz-Joost Boogert and Ariët Kieskamp for their help in collecting field data and Sílvia Faria for the SOC laboratory analysis. This work was developed and funded under the EC 7th framework programme project CASCADE (Grant Agreement No. 283068). Additional support was provided by CESAM (UID/AMB/50017/2013), funded by the FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC) with co-funding by FEDER through COMPETE (Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade; POFC).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor M. Santana
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Oscar González-Pelayo
    • 1
  • Paula A. A. Maia
    • 1
  • María E. Varela T.
    • 1
  • Alejandro Valdecantos
    • 3
  • V. Ramón Vallejo
    • 2
  • J. Jacob Keizer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environment and Planning, Earth Surface Processes Team (ESP), Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Fundación de la Generalitat Valenciana Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM)Parque tecnológico PaternaValenciaSpain

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